How to Avoid a Dud Dentist
Admit it. Going to the dentist isn't something you look forward to. The thought of someone sticking their hands into your mouth with metal tools to poke and prod your gums seems less like a necessity and more like torture. Yet, if you want healthy, beautiful teeth, it's in your best interest to have regular check-ups with a local dentist.
For that reason, you want your dentist to be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. After all, you are placing your precious teeth, gums and mouth in their hands.
Here are some practical tips to help you avoid a dud dentist.
Drop the Dud
If you're currently seeing a dud dentist, save yourself the frustration and find a better one. Who said you had to keep going back?
It's hard enough when you have drool dribbling down your face when you go in for a check-up. What makes it worse is a cold dentist who cares more about your money than you as a person, provides sub-par dental care, or treats you like you're just another body in an assembly line of patients waiting to take a seat in his chair.
You deserve better than that. It's time to find a new dentist.
One of the most common ways people find a healthcare provider is through word of mouth. If you want a good dentist, ask your friends, family, co-workers, and other people you trust if they have one that they trust. Make sure to ask them about their personal experiences with their dentist. They'll be more than willing to tell you.
They'll tell you that one dentist is friendly but a little absentminded sometimes. Or that another dentist isn't very personal and that his office feels sterile. You'll learn which dentists to avoid and which ones are miracle workers when it comes to teeth.
Test Drive Your Dentist
When you buy a new car, you don't buy it based on looks or recommendation alone. Even if you know exactly what brand and model you're looking for, you still take it out for a test drive before you commit to the purchase.
You want to know how it handles on the road, you test out all its bells and whistles, and you sit in it to gauge how it "feels." For many, buying a car involves more than picking a vehicle that gets your around; it is about finding the "right" fit that you'll be happy with for years to come. Buying a car is an emotional experience.
Picking and sticking with your dentist is an emotional experience too that involves large investments of time and money.
Although you can't test drive a dentist, you can meet with one before you commit to being a patient. Call up a prospective dentist and ask for a 10-15 minute consultation. Let them know that you're looking for a dentist and want to meet with them before making a final decision.
Once you're at the dental office, take note of everything. Does their office look clean? Is the dentist warm and friendly or cold and distant? Can you trust them? Do you feel comfortable with them? If you're a parent, would you trust this dentist with your children?
First impressions matter and your observations during that experience will serve as an internal gut check. This is your "test drive."
Just as it's important to find a dentist who is experienced and professional, it's also important to find one who will treat you well as a person. If the dentist is a licensed professional, it means they have gone through years of rigorous training. They wouldn't be practicing if they weren't good at what they do, so there's no reason to fear. However, what a diploma from medical school or a license to practice dentistry won't tell you is if your dentist is warm and trustworthy.
The personal touch that a medical professional gives should go hand in hand with the medical care they provide. As Robin Williams said in his role as Patch Adams, "You have to learn to treat the patients as well as the disease. You have to dive into people." In the end, people care just as much about how a dentist makes them feel as they do about the dental care they receive.